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Scotland’s Poorest to Pay Price of UK Austerity: Deputy First Minister

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The new UK Government's austerity policy will mostly affect the lowest earning households in Scotland.

EDINBURGH, December 03 (Sputnik), Mark Hirst – The lowest 20 percent earning households in Scotland will be among the hardest hit by the UK's ongoing austerity measures, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland John Swinney has said in a statement Wednesday.

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"The lowest earning households in Scotland will be among the hardest hit by the UK Government cuts," the statement said.

Swinney comment comes after UK Chancellor, George Osborne, announced his Autumn Statement to the British Parliament in which he admitted the Government had missed its target on borrowing, but forecast the UK would recover by 2019/2020.

"Today's budget shows the failure of the UK Government's austerity policy and it is clear that we in Scotland are paying the price. In 2010 the Chancellor embarked on his austerity program and instead of putting the finances on a sound footing we are seeing borrowing this year of over £50bn [$78.5 billion] higher than expected, lower tax revenues and austerity extended by at least a further two years," Swinney added.

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In a separate statement the business representative body, Business for Scotland, welcomed some of the "business friendly" commitments made, such as abolishing National Insurance contributions for apprentices, but remained critical of the UK Government's economic handling of the economy.

According to the statement of an McDougall, a Director of Business for Scotland, "ballooning national debt, reduced growth, stagnating wages levels and ripping the pounds from the pockets of the poor, together with the confirmation that the powers that Scotland needs to deliver economic growth and create prosperity have been denied to Scotland and given to others, make this a pretty black day for Scottish business."

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